Last Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2007 | 12:02 AM ET
The Canadian military is about to create a special forces unit unlike anything it has had before, CBC News has learned.
The force, which will include 800 soldiers, sailors and air force personnel, will be mainly focused on maritime operations, but will also focus on areas such as counter-terrorism, sources said.
The force will be equipped with helicopters, submarines and possibly a leased amphibious assault ship — a vessel that can bring ashore and support ground troops.
"Think of it as something like a mini United States Marine Corps," the CBC's Rob Gordon reported Tuesday from New Glasgow, N.S.
The marines, with about 200,000 troops, is a branch of the U.S. military that operates on land, sea and in the air.
Canada has studied the possibility of having a special force for a year, and sources told Gordon the military is now ready to move ahead with plans. No details were available about when the force will be operational.
The force will be able to work within Canada, assisting with coastal disasters where civilians are at risk.
The force will also be able to assist the Canadian military in its operations around the world. The military hopes the force will increase its global presence, Gordon reported.
Corrections and Clarifications
- The U.S. Marine Corps is a branch of the U.S. military, not a branch of the U.S. Navy as originally reported. June 5, 2007|3:25 p.m. ET